HOME

TheInfoList




''Primus inter pares'' is a
Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language A classical language is a language A language is a structured system of communication Communication (from Latin ''communicare'', meaning "to share" or "to be in relation with") is "an appa ...

Latin
phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group but is accorded unofficial respect, traditionally owing to their
seniority Seniority is the state of being older or placed in a higher position of status relative to another individual, group, or organization. For example, one employee may be senior to another either by role or rank (such as a CEO vice a manager), or by ...
in office. Historically, the ''
princeps senatus The ''princeps senatus'' (plural ''principes senatus'') was the first member by precedence of the Roman Senate. Although officially out of the ''cursus honorum The ''cursus honorum'' (; , or more colloquially 'ladder of offices') was the sequ ...
'' of the Roman Senate was such a figure and initially bore only the distinction that he was allowed to speak first during
debate Debate is a process that involves formal discussion on a particular topic. In a debate, opposing arguments are put forward to argue for opposing viewpoints. Debate occurs in public meetings, academic institutions, and legislative assemblies. It ...
. Also,
Constantine the Great Constantine I ( la, Flavius Valerius Constantinus; ; 27 February 22 May 337), also known as Constantine the Great, was Roman emperor The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire during the imperial period (starting in 27 BC). Th ...

Constantine the Great
was given the role of ''primus inter pares''. However, the term is also often used
ironically Irony (), in its broadest sense, is a rhetorical device In rhetoric, a rhetorical device, persuasive device, or stylistic device is a ''technique'' that an author or speaker uses to convey to the listener or reader a Meaning (linguistics), mean ...
or self-deprecatingly by leaders with much higher status as a form of
respect Respect, also called esteem, is a positive feeling or action shown towards someone or something considered important or held in high esteem or regard. It conveys a sense of admiration for good or valuable qualities. It is also the process of ho ...

respect
,
camaraderie The term ''comrade'' is used to mean 'mate', 'colleague', or 'ally', and derives from the Spanish term , literally meaning 'chamber mate', from Latin , meaning 'chamber' or 'room'. Political use of the term was inspired by the French Revolution ...
or
propaganda Propaganda is communication that is primarily used to Social influence, influence an audience and further an Political agenda, agenda, which may not be Objectivity (journalism), objective and may be selectively presenting facts to encourage a pa ...
. After the fall of the Republic,
Roman emperors The Roman emperor was the ruler of the Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Rōmānum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rom ...
initially referred to themselves only as ''
princeps Princeps (plural: principes) is a Latin word meaning "first in time or order; the first, foremost, chief, the most eminent, distinguished, or noble; the first man, first person". As a title, "princeps" originated in the Roman Republic wherein the ...
'' despite having power of life and death over their "fellow citizens". Various modern figures such as the chair of the United States Federal Reserve System, the
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
of parliamentary countries, the President of Switzerland, the
Chief Justice of the US Supreme Court The chief justice of the United States is the chief judge A chief judge (also known as chief justice The chief justice is the Chief judge, presiding member of a supreme court in any of many countries with a justice system based on English comm ...
, the
Chief Justice of the Philippines The chief justice of the Philippines ( fil, Punong Mahistrado ng Pilipinas) presides over the Supreme Court of the Philippines The Supreme Court ( fil, Kataas-taasang Hukuman; colloquially referred to as the ''Korte Suprema'') is the highes ...
, the
Archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
of the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
and the
Ecumenical Patriarch of Constantinople The ecumenical patriarch ( el, Οἰκουμενικός Πατριάρχης, translit=Oikoumenikós Patriárchis; tr, Kostantiniyye ekümenik patriği) is the archbishop of Constantinople la, Constantinopolis ota, قسطنطينيه , ...
of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
fall under both senses: bearing higher status and various additional powers while remaining still merely equal to their peers in important senses.


National use


China

In the
People's Republic of China China (), officially the People's Republic of China (PRC; ), is a country in East Asia East Asia is the eastern region of Asia Asia () is Earth's largest and most populous continent, located primarily in the Eastern Hemisphere ...

People's Republic of China
, which was placed under the
collective leadership Collective leadership is a distribution of power within an organizational structure. Communist examples China Collective leadership in China and Chinese Communist Party (CCP) is generally considered to have begun with Deng Xiaoping in the lat ...

collective leadership
of the
Politburo Standing Committee The Standing Committee of the Central Political Bureau of the Chinese Communist Party, usually known as the Politburo Standing Committee (PSC), is a committee consisting of the top leadership of the Chinese Communist Party The Communist Pa ...
following the
death Death is the permanent, irreversible cessation of all biological functions that sustain a living Living or The Living may refer to: Common meanings *Life, a condition that distinguishes organisms from inorganic objects and dead organi ...
of
Chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...
Mao Zedong Mao Zedong pronounced ; also Romanization of Chinese, romanised traditionally as Mao Tse-tung. (December 26, 1893 – September 9, 1976), also known as Chairman Mao, was a Chinese communist revolutionary who was the Proclamation of the ...

Mao Zedong
, the term "first among equals" was often used to describe China's
paramount leader The paramount leader also named supreme leader () of the Chinese Communist Party ) , anthem = "The Internationale" , seats1_title = National People's Congress (13th National People's Congress, 13th) , seats1 = , ...
at the
zenith The zenith is an imaginary point directly "above" a particular location, on the imaginary celestial sphere. "Above" means in the vertical direction (plumb line) opposite to the gravity direction at that location (nadir). The zenith is the "high ...
of
Deng Xiaoping Deng Xiaoping (22 August 1904 – 19 February 1997), also known by his courtesy name A courtesy name (), also known as a style name, is a name bestowed upon one at adulthood in addition to one's given name. This practice is a tradition in ...

Deng Xiaoping
's influence. This has fallen out of favour since the consolidation of power under the current core leader,
General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology Sociology is the study of society, human social behaviour, patterns of social relationships, social inter ...
Xi Jinping Xi Jinping ( ; , ; born 15 June 1953) is a Chinese politician who has been serving as General Secretary Secretary is a title often used in organizations to indicate a person having a certain amount of authority In the fields of sociology ...

Xi Jinping
.


Commonwealth usage


Prime minister or premier

In the
federal Federal or foederal (archaic) may refer to: Politics General *Federal monarchy, a federation of monarchies *Federation, or ''Federal state'' (federal system), a type of government characterized by both a central (federal) government and states or ...

federal
Commonwealth realms A Commonwealth realm is a sovereign state that has Elizabeth II as its monarch and head of state. Each realm functions as an independent state, equal with the other realms. In 1952, Elizabeth II was the monarch and head of state of seven in ...

Commonwealth realms
,
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
, in which
Queen Elizabeth II Elizabeth II (Elizabeth Alexandra Mary; born 21 April 1926) is Queen of the United Kingdom The monarchy of the United Kingdom, commonly referred to as the British monarchy, is the constitutional monarchy A constitutional mo ...

Queen Elizabeth II
is
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
as constitutional monarch, a governor-general is appointed by the
Queen-in-Council The King-in-Council or the Queen-in-Council, depending on the gender Gender is the range of characteristics pertaining to, and differentiating between femininity Femininity (also called womanliness or girlishness) is a set of attribute ...
to represent the Queen during her absence. The governor-general typically appoints the leader of the political party holding at least a plurality of seats in the elected legislature to be
prime minister A prime minister or a premier is the head of the cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transpa ...
, whose relationship with the other
ministers of the Crown Minister of the Crown is a formal constitutional term used in Commonwealth realms to describe a minister of the reigning sovereign or viceroy A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity in the name of and as the representative of the mo ...
is in theory said to be that of a ''primus inter pares'', or "first among equals". This is also done at the provincial or state level wherein the lieutenant governors of the Canadian provinces or
governors of the Australian states The governors of the Australian states are the representatives of Australia's monarch in each of Australia's six states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U ...
as ''Lieutenant-Governor-in-Council'' appoints the leader of the provincial or state political party holding at least a plurality of seats in the elected provincial or state legislature to be provincial
premier Premier is a title for the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, aut ...
or state
premier Premier is a title for the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a self-governing colony, aut ...
.


Viceroys in Canada and Australia

As
federations A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism Federalism is a mixed or compou ...
in
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
, lieutenant-governors represent the
Canadian monarch The monarchy of Canada is at the core of Canada's constitutional Canadian federalism, federal structure and Westminster system, Westminster-style Parliamentary system, parliamentary democracy. The monarchy is the foundation of the Executive (gover ...
in each of the provinces, thus, acting as the "heads of state" in the
provinces A province is almost always an administrative division Administrative division, administrative unitArticle 3(1). , country subdivision, administrative region, subnational entity, first-level subdivision, as well as many similar terms, are g ...
. Unlike in
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...

Australia
with the
governors of the Australian states The governors of the Australian states are the representatives of Australia's monarch in each of Australia's six states State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U ...
, the lieutenant-governors in Canada are not appointed by the Queen-in-Council, but by the governor general on the advice of the
prime minister of Canada The prime minister of Canada (french: premier ministre du Canada, link=no) is the first minister of the Crown '' File:서봉총 금관 금제드리개.jpg, The Seobongchong Golden Crown of Ancient Silla, which is 339th National Treasu ...
known as the ''Governor-in-Council''. Similarly, in Australia, there are governors to represent the Australian monarch in each of the
states of Australia State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine ''State Magazine'' is a digital magazine published by the U.S. Department of State's Bureau of Global Talent Management. Its mission is to acquaint Department of ...
that comprise the federal Commonwealth of Australia, making them "head of state" in each of their own states. In each case, these several governors or lieutenant-governors are not envisaged as subordinate to the governor general – the
governor-general of Australia The governor-general of Australia is the representative of the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona who officially embodies a state (polity), state#Foakes, Foakes, pp. 110 ...
and the
governor general of Canada The governor general of Canada (french: gouverneure générale du Canada) is the federal viceregal A viceroy () is an official who runs a polity A polity is an identifiable political entity—any group of people who have a collective ...
– as a federal viceroy – is "first among equals".


Germany

Mayor In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or , regardless whether it carries an actual with it) in an or government and participates in the exercise of , (either their ow ...

Mayor
s of German
city state A city-state is an independent sovereign Sovereign is a title which can be applied to the highest leader in various categories. The word is borrowed from Old French Old French (, , ; Modern French French ( or ) is a Romance la ...
s have traditionally acted as ''primus inter pares''. In
Hamburg en, Hamburgian(s) , timezone1 = Central (CET) , utc_offset1 = +1 , timezone1_DST = Central (CEST) , utc_offset1_DST = +2 , postal_code_type = Post ...

Hamburg
,
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
and
Bremen Bremen (, also ; Low German : : : : : , minority = (70,000) (30,000) (8,000) , familycolor = Indo-European , fam2 = Germanic Germanic may refer to: * Germanic peoples, an ethno-linguistic group identified by t ...
, which had been Free Imperial Cities from the times of the
Holy Roman Empire The Holy Roman Empire ( la, Sacrum Romanum Imperium; german: Heiliges Römisches Reich) was a multi-ethnic complex of territories in Western Western may refer to: Places *Western, Nebraska, a village in the US *Western, New York, a town i ...
, the government was called
Senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative assembly, often the upper house or Debating chamber, chamber of a bicameral legislatu ...
. The mayor was one senator amongst many, often referred to as
president of the Senate President of the Senate is a title often given to the presiding officer of a senate The Curia Julia in the Roman Forum ">Roman_Forum.html" ;"title="Curia Julia in the Roman Forum">Curia Julia in the Roman Forum A senate is a deliberative a ...
rather than mayor. This ended in
Lübeck Lübeck (; Low German Low German or Low Saxon (in the language itself: , and other names; german: Plattdeutsch, ) is a West Germanic languages, West Germanic language variety spoken mainly in Northern Germany and the northeastern part of the ...

Lübeck
with the incorporation into Prussia in 1937. While in a constitutional reform in 1996, the mayor of Hamburg was given broad powers to shape the politics of the
Senate of Hamburg The government of Hamburg is divided into executive Executive may refer to: Role, title, or function * Executive (government), branch of government that has authority and responsibility for the administration of state bureaucracy * Executive, a sen ...
, thus, ending his status as ''primus inter pares''. However, in the city state Free Hanseatic City of Bremen which was created after the Second World War, the mayor has had a similar role in the
Senate of Bremen The Senate of the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen (German: Senat der Freien Hansestadt Bremen) is the government A government is the system or group of people governing an organized community, generally a state State may refer to: A ...
. The same was true until 1995 for the
governing mayor of Berlin The Governing Mayor (german: Regierender Bürgermeister) of Berlin is the head of government, presiding over the Senate of Berlin, Berlin Senate. As Berlin is an independent city as well as one of the constituent States of Germany (''Bundesländer ...
among his colleagues within the
Senate of Berlin The Senate of Berlin (german: Berliner Senat) is the executive body governing the city of Berlin Berlin (; ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities in Germany by population, largest city of Germany by both area and population. Its 3, ...
.


Japan

Starting with the
Meiji Constitution The Constitution of the Empire of Japan (Kyūjitai are the traditional forms of kanji are the adopted logographic Chinese characters that are used in the Japanese writing system. They are used alongside the Japanese language, Japanes ...
of 1885, as part of the "Cabinet System Act", and lasting until the revision of the modern constitution in 1947, the
prime minister of Japan The (informally referred to as the PMOJ) is the leader Leadership, both as a research area and as a practical skill, encompasses the ability of an individual, group or organization An organization, or organisation (Commonwealth ...
was legally considered to be of the same rank as the other ministers who formed the
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
. During this time, the prime minister was referred to as "同輩中の首席" ''dōhai-chū no shuseki'' ("chief among peers").


Netherlands

The
prime minister of the Netherlands The prime minister of the Netherlands ( nl, Minister-president van Nederland) is the head of the executive branch of the Government of the Netherlands. Although the monarch A monarch is a head of state A head of state (or chief of sta ...
(officially, the "minister-president") is the
chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...

chairman
of the
Council of MinistersThe Council of Ministers is a traditional name given to the supreme executive organ in some governments. The term is usually equivalent to the word " cabinet" ( Council of State is a similar term that also may refer to a Cabinet. However, the terms ...
and active executive authority of the
Dutch government The politics of the Netherlands take place within the framework of a parliamentary A parliamentary system or parliamentary democracy is a system of democratic Democrat, Democrats, or Democratic may refer to: *A proponent of democracy ...
. Although formally no special powers are assigned, the prime minister functions as the "face" of the
cabinet of the Netherlands The cabinet of the Netherlands ( nl, Nederlands kabinet) is the main Executive (government), executive body of the Politics of the Netherlands, Netherlands. The current cabinet of the Netherlands is the third Rutte cabinet, which has been in power ...
. Usually, the prime minister is also minister of General Affairs. Until 1945, the position of chairman of the Council of Ministers officially switched between the ministers, although practices differed throughout history. In 1945, the position was formally instituted. Although not formally necessary, the prime minister in practice is the leader of the largest party in the majority coalition in the
House of Representatives House of Representatives is the name of legislative bodies A legislature is a deliberative assembly A deliberative assembly is a gathering of members (of any kind of collective) who use parliamentary procedure Parliamentary procedure is ...
, the
lower house A lower house is one of two chambers Chambers may refer to: Places Canada: *Chambers Township, Ontario United States: *Chambers County, Alabama *Chambers, Arizona, an unincorporated community in Apache County *Chambers, Nebraska *Chambers, We ...
of parliament.


Switzerland

In
Switzerland , french: Suisse(sse), it, svizzero/svizzera or , rm, Svizzer/Svizra , government_type = Federalism, Federal semi-direct democracy under an assembly-independent Directorial system, directorial republic , leader_title1 = Fe ...

Switzerland
the seven-member Federal Council constitutes the government. Each year, the
Federal AssemblyFederal Assembly may refer to: *Federal Assembly (Russia), the Russian federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Czechoslovakia), the former Czechoslovak federal parliament *Federal Assembly (Federation of Rhodesia and Nyasaland), the former federal par ...
elects a president of the Confederation. By convention, the positions of President and Vice President rotate annually, each Councillor thus becoming Vice President and then President every seven years while in office. The president is not the Swiss
head of state A head of state (or chief of state) is the public persona A persona (plural personae or personas), depending on the context, can refer to either the public image of one's personality, or the social role that one adopts, or a fictional ch ...
, but he or she is the highest-ranking Swiss official. He or she presides over Council meetings and carries out certain representative functions that, in other countries, are the business of the head of state. In urgent situations where a Council decision cannot be made in time, the president is empowered to act on behalf of the whole Council. Apart from that, though, the president is a ''primus inter pares'', having no power above and beyond the other six councillors.


United Kingdom

The term "prime minister" can be compared to "primary minister" or "first minister". Because of this, the prime ministers of many countries are traditionally considered to be "first among equals" – they are the
chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...

chairman
or "head" of a
Cabinet Cabinet or The Cabinet may refer to: Furniture * Cabinetry, a box-shaped piece of furniture with doors and/or drawers * Display cabinet, a piece of furniture with one or more transparent glass sheets or transparent polycarbonate sheets * Filing ...
rather than holding an office that is ''de jure'' superior to that of ministers. The
Prime Minister of the United Kingdom The prime minister of the United Kingdom is the head of government The head of government is either the highest or second-highest official in the Executive (government), executive branch of a sovereign state, a federated state, or a ...
has frequently been described as "first among equals". In the
UK
UK
, the executive is the Cabinet, and during Hanoverian times a minister had the role of informing the monarch about proposed legislation in the House of Commons and other matters. In modern times, however, although the phrase is still occasionally used, it understates the powers of the prime minister, which now include many broad, exclusive, executive powers over which cabinet members have little influence. ''
First Among Equals ''Primus inter pares'' ( grc, πρῶτος μεταξὺ ἴσων, ) is a Latin phrase meaning first among equals. It is typically used as an honorary title for someone who is formally equal to other members of their group but is accorded unoff ...
'' is the title of a popular political novel (1984) by
Jeffrey Archer Jeffrey Howard Archer, Baron Archer of Weston-super-Mare (born 15 April 1940) is an English novelist, life peer In the United Kingdom The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, commonly known as the United Kingdom (UK) ...

Jeffrey Archer
, about the careers and private lives of several men vying to become British Prime Minister. It was later adapted into a ten-part TV series, produced by
Granada Television ITV Granada, formerly known as Granada Television, is the ITV franchisee for the North West of England and Isle of Man. From 1956 to 1968 it broadcast to both the north west and Yorkshire but only on weekdays as ABC Weekend Television AB ...
. Countries and jurisdictions that have adapted the British parliamentary system (such as
Canada Canada is a country in the northern part of North America North America is a continent A continent is any of several large landmasses. Generally identified by convention (norm), convention rather than any strict criteria, ...

Canada
and
Australia Australia, officially the Commonwealth of Australia, is a Sovereign state, sovereign country comprising the mainland of the Australia (continent), Australian continent, the island of Tasmania, and numerous List of islands of Australia, sma ...
) would have the same use for the phrase.


United States

The phrase "first among equals" has also been used to describe the Chief Justice of the United States. The Chief Justice has considerable administrative powers, and can assign the writing of decisions in cases in which they are in the majority, but has no direct control over the decisions of their colleagues on the
Supreme Court of the United States The Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) is the highest court in the federal judiciary of the United States of America The United States of America (U.S.A. or USA), commonly known as the United States (U.S. or US) or Americ ...

Supreme Court of the United States
.


Chairpersons

In many private parliamentary bodies, such as clubs, boards, educational faculty, and committees, the officer or member who holds the position of chair or
chairman The chairperson (also chair, chairman, or chairwoman) is the presiding officer of an organized group such as a board Board or Boards may refer to: Flat surface * Lumber, or other rigid material, milled or sawn flat ** Plank (wood) ** Cutting ...

chairman
is often regarded as a "first among equals". That is, while most
rules of order Parliamentary procedure is the accepted rules Rule or ruling may refer to: Human activity * The exercise of political Politics (from , ) is the set of activities that are associated with Decision-making, making decisions in Social gro ...
will grant the chair special powers within the context of a
meeting A meeting is when two or more people A people is a plurality of person A person (plural people or persons) is a being that has certain capacities or attributes such as reason, morality, consciousness or self-consciousness, and being a p ...

meeting
, the position of chair is usually temporary, rotating, and powerless in other contexts, making the occupant merely a temporary leader required to instil order. This is the case for
mayors In many countries, a mayor is the highest-ranking official An official is someone who holds an office (function or mandate, regardless whether it carries an actual working space with it) in an organization or government A governme ...

mayors
under a
council–manager government The council–manager government is a form of local government Local government is a generic term for the lowest tiers of public administration Public administration is the implementation of public policy, government policy and also an ac ...
, as the "mayor" has the same vote as all other council members and cannot override them, although their opinion may have more sway among other members.


Religion


Eastern Orthodox Church

The phrase "first among equals" is also used to describe the role of the
patriarch of Constantinople The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Or ...
, who, as the "ecumenical patriarch", is the first among all the
bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...

bishop
s of the
Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Church, also called the Orthodox Church, is the second-largest Christian church, with approximately 220 million baptised members. It operates as a communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also cal ...
. He has no direct jurisdiction over the other
patriarch The highest-ranking bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, ...

patriarch
s or the other
autocephalous Autocephaly (; from el, αὐτοκεφαλία, meaning "property of being self-headed") is the status of a hierarchy, hierarchical Christian church whose head bishop does not report to any higher-ranking bishop. The term is primarily used i ...
Orthodox churches and cannot interfere in the election of bishops in autocephalous churches, but he alone enjoys the right of convening extraordinary synods consisting of them or their delegates to deal with ad hoc situations, and he has also convened well-attended pan-Orthodox Synods in the last forty years. His title is an acknowledgement of his historic significance and of his privilege to serve as primary spokesman for the Eastern Orthodox Communion. His
moral authority Moral authority is authority premised on principles, or fundamental truths, which are independent of written, or positive, laws. As such, moral authority necessitates the existence of and adherence to truth. Because truth does not change, the princi ...
is highly respected. The Eastern Orthodox Church also uses the term "first among equals" in regard to the
bishop of Rome A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Catholic, Eastern Orthodox, Oriental Orthodox, Moravian Chu ...
during the first thousand years of Christianity.Timothy Ware, ''The Orthodox Church'' (Oxford: Penguin, 1993), 214–17. Whereas the patriarch of Constantinople is now considered first among the Orthodox patriarchs, the Orthodox Church considers the bishop of Rome (regarded as the "
patriarch of the West Patriarch of the West was, on several occasions between AD 450 and 2006, one of the official titles of the bishop of Rome, as patriarch and highest authority of the Latin Church. The title no longer appears among the official ones, starting from ...
") the "first among equals" in the
Pentarchy Pentarchy (from the Greek , ''Pentarchía'', from πέντε ''pénte'', "five", and ἄρχειν ''archein'', "to rule") is a model of Church organization historically championed in the Eastern Orthodox Church The Eastern Orthodox Chu ...
of the patriarchal sees according to the ancient, first millennial order (or "taxis" in Greek) of Rome, Constantinople, Alexandria, Antioch, and Jerusalem, established after Constantinople became the eastern capital of the Byzantine Empire. The bishop of Rome no longer holds this distinction in the Orthodox Church because, following the
East–West Schism The East–West Schism (also known as the Great Schism or Schism of 1054) was the break of communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eatin ...
, he is no longer in communion with the Orthodox Church. The canons relative to the universal primacy of honor of the patriarch of Constantinople are the 9th canon of the
synod of AntiochBeginning with three synod A synod () is a council of a church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word '' synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the Latin wo ...
and the 28th canon of the
Council of Chalcedon The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; grc-gre, Σύνοδος τῆς Χαλκηδόνος, ''Synodos tēs Chalkēdonos'') was the fourth ecumenical council The Council of Chalcedon (; la, Concilium Chalcedonense; ...
.


Catholic Church

The Latin and
Eastern Catholic The Eastern Catholic Churches or Oriental Catholic Churches, also called the Eastern-rite Catholic Churches, Eastern Rite Catholicism, or simply the Eastern Churches, are twenty-three Eastern Christian Eastern Christianity comprises Chris ...
Churches consider the
pope The pope ( la, papa, from el, πάππας, translit=pappas, "father"), also known as the supreme pontiff () or the Roman pontiff (), is the bishop of Diocese of Rome, Rome, chief pastor of the worldwide Catholic Church, and head of state o ...

pope
(bishop of Rome) to be the single
Vicar of Christ Vicar of Christ (from Latin Latin (, or , ) is a classical language belonging to the Italic languages, Italic branch of the Indo-European languages. Latin was originally spoken in the area around Rome, known as Latium. Through the power of the ...
, successor of
Saint Peter Saint Peter; he, שמעון בר יונה, Šimʿōn bar Yōnāh; ar, سِمعَان بُطرُس, translit=Simʿa̅n Buṭrus; grc-gre, Πέτρος, Petros; cop, Ⲡⲉⲧⲣⲟⲥ, Petros; lat, Petrus; ar, شمعون الصفـا, Sham ...

Saint Peter
, and leader of all their
bishops A bishop is an ordained Ordination is the process by which individuals are Consecration, consecrated, that is, set apart and elevated from the laity class to the clergy, who are thus then authorization, authorized (usually by the religious denom ...

bishops
(Patriarchs included), in
Apostolic succession Apostolic succession is the method whereby the ministry of the Christian Church Christian Church is a Protestant Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against what its followe ...
to the
apostles upright=1.35, Jesus and his Twelve Apostles, Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla">Chi_Rho.html" ;"title="fresco with the Chi Rho">Chi-Rho symbol ☧, Catacombs of Domitilla, Rome In Christian theology and ecclesiology, apostles, parti ...

apostles
. As such, the
Catholic Church The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with 1.3 billion baptised Baptism (from the Greek language, Greek noun βάπτισμα ''báptisma'') is a Christians, Christian ...

Catholic Church
does not see the pope merely as being "first among equals", but as actually holding an office with supreme authority in
canon law Canon law (from grc, κανών, , a 'straight measuring rod, ruler A ruler, sometimes called a rule or line gauge, is a device used in geometry and technical drawing, as well as the engineering and construction industries, to measure dis ...
over all other bishops. This jurisdictional claim was one of the main causes of the
East-West Schism East West (or East and West) may refer to: *East–West dichotomy ''A meeting of Japan, China, and the West'' ( Shiba Kōkan, late 18th century) In sociology Sociology is a social science Social science is the Branches of science, ...
in the Church, which became formal in 1054. In the Catholic Church, the
Dean of the College of Cardinals The dean of the College of Cardinals ( la, Decanus Collegii Sanctae Romanae Ecclesiae Cardinalium) presides over the College of Cardinals The College of Cardinals, formerly styled the Sacred College of Cardinals, is the body of all Cardinal (C ...
is the first among equal Prince of the Church in the College, which is the pope's highest-ranking council and elects the papal successor, generally from its own ranks. Various episcopal sees were granted or claim the title of
primate A primate ( ) (from Latin , from 'prime, first rank') is a eutherian mammal constituting the Taxonomy (biology), taxonomic order (biology), order Primates (). Primates arose 85–55 million years ago first from small Terrestrial animal, ...
(usually of a past or present political entity), which grants such a ''primas'' (usually a metropolitan archbishopric, often in a former/present capital) precedence over all other sees in its circumscription, outranking (other) metropolitan sees, but the incumbent primates can be trumped by personal ranks, as they rank below cardinals. More commonly, dioceses are geographically grouped in an ecclesiastical province, where only one holds the rank of
metropolitan archbishop Metropolitan may refer to: * Metropolitan area A metropolitan area or metro is a region consisting of a densely populated core city, urban core and its less-populated surrounding territories under the same administrative division, sharing indus ...
, which outranks his colleagues, who are therefore called his
suffraganIn the Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian Full communion, communion after the Catholic Church and Eastern Orthodox Churches, Eastern Orthodox Church. Founded in 1867 in London, the communion has more tha ...
s, even if these include (fairly rarely) another archbishop.


Anglican Communion

According to the Anglican Covenant, the
archbishop of Canterbury The Archbishop of Canterbury is the senior bishop A bishop is an ordained, consecrated, or appointed member of the Clergy#Christianity, Christian clergy who is generally entrusted with a position of authority and oversight. Within the Cat ...
is "first among equals" in his presidency over the
Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer to: Religion * The Eucharist (also called the Holy Communion or Lord's Supper), the Christian rite involving the eating of bread and drinking of wine, re ...
. The senior bishop of the seven diocesan bishops of the
Scottish Episcopal Church The Scottish Episcopal Church ( gd, Eaglais Easbaigeach na h-Alba; sco, Scots Episcopal Kirk) is the ecclesiastical province of the Anglican Communion The Anglican Communion is the third largest Christian communion Communion may refer ...
bears the truncated title
primus Primus may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Fictional entities * Primus (DC Comics), a member of the fictional superhero team The Omega Men * Primus (Dungeons & Dragons), the leader of the Modron race in the ''Dungeons & Dragons'' universe ...
from ''primus inter pares''. Leading bishops or primates in other Anglican 'national' churches are often said to be ''primus inter pares'' within their provinces (e.g. Church of Ireland), while the (first) primatial see of Canterbury remains primus among them. Based on the antiquity with which ecumenical councils have conceded some kind of universal primacy to the bishops of Rome, participants in Anglican–Catholic dialogues have acknowledged for decades that the pope would properly serve as the titular leader of a reunited church; the Anglicans typically have in mind an honorary (non-jurisdictional) primacy such as the phrase "primus inter pares" implies. In one example of such acknowledgement, the International Anglican-Catholic Commission for Unity and Mission, in its 2007 agreed statement ''Growing Together in Unity and Mission,'' "urge Anglicans and Catholics to explore together how the ministry of the Bishop of Rome might be offered and received in order to assist our Communions to grow towards full, ecclesial communion".


Presbyterianism

The
Moderator of the General Assembly The moderator of the General Assembly is the Chair (official), chairperson of a General Assembly (presbyterian church), General Assembly, the highest court of a Presbyterian or Calvinism, Reformed church. Kirk sessions and presbytery (church pol ...
in a
Presbyterian church Presbyterianism is a part of the Reformed tradition Calvinism (also called the Reformed tradition, Reformed Christianity, Reformed Protestantism, or the Reformed faith) is a major branch of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of ...
is similarly designated as a ''primus inter pares''. This concept holds also for the Moderators of each
Synod A synod () is a council of a Ecclesia (church), church, usually convened to decide an issue of doctrine, administration or application. The word ''wikt:synod, synod'' comes from the meaning "assembly" or "meeting" and is analogous with the L ...
, Presbytery, and
Kirk Session A session (from the Latin word ''sessio'', which means "to sit", as in sitting to deliberate or talk about something; sometimes called ''consistory'' or ''church board'') is a body of elected elders governing each local church within presbyteria ...
. As all elders are ordained – some for teaching and some for ruling – none sit in higher status, but all are considered equal behind the one and only head of the church Jesus Christ.


Church of Sweden

In the Lutheran
Church of Sweden The Church of Sweden ( sv, Svenska kyrkan) is an Evangelical Lutheran Lutheranism is one of the largest branches of Protestantism Protestantism is a form of Christianity that originated with the 16th-century Reformation, a movement against ...
, the
Archbishop of Uppsala The Archbishop of Uppsala (spelled Upsala until the early 20th century) has been the primate (bishop), primate in Sweden in an unbroken succession since 1164, first during the Roman Catholic Church, Catholic era, and from the 1530s and onward und ...
is considered by the church as ''primus inter pares''. As such, the Archbishop of Uppsala has no powers over the other 13 bishops but has some additional administrative and spiritual duties, as specified in the
Church OrderChurch order is the Systematics, systematically organized set of rules drawn up by a qualified body for the local church, church. P. Coertzen. ''Church and Order''. Belgium: Peeters. From the point of view of civil law, the ''church order'' can be de ...
of the Church of Sweden. According to the chapter 8 of the Church Order, only the Archbishop of Uppsala can ordain a bishop. The other bishops of the Church of Sweden are peers, not superior, to the Archbishop of Uppsala. Among the Archbishop of Uppsala's other duties is the obligation to convene and chair the Episcopal Assembly. Unlike the other bishops, who are elected to office by members of their diocese, the Archbishop of Uppsala is elected by the entire body of the church. There is a peculiar regulation that stipulates that the total votes cast in the archdiocese of Uppsala, when electing an archbishop, "shall be divided by ten, with decimals removed", before being added to the national vote.


See also

*
Egalitarianism Egalitarianism (), or equalitarianism, is a school of thought A school of thought, or intellectual tradition, is the perspective of a group of people who share common characteristics of opinion or outlook of a philosophy Philosophy ...
*
Republicanism Republicanism is a political ideology An ideology () is a set of belief A belief is an Attitude (psychology), attitude that something is the case, or that some proposition about the world is truth, true. In epistemology, philosophers use ...
* ''
Animal Farm ''Animal Farm'' is an by , first published in England on 17 August 1945. The book tells the story of a group of farm animals who rebel against their human farmer, hoping to create a society where the animals can be equal, free, and happy. ...
''


Notes


Footnotes


References

{{DEFAULTSORT:Primus Inter Pares Latin political words and phrases Titles Primates (bishops) Christian terminology Roman Senate